CTIA certifies Harman Spark connected car device exclusive to AT&T

connected car
The Harman Spark is a new aftermarket telematics device that turns just about any car 1996 and newer into a connected car. (Pixabay)

CTIA is declaring a milestone for its IoT Cybersecurity Certification program, having certified the first device, the Harman Spark, through the program. AT&T is offering the aftermarket connected car device exclusively.

“It’s appropriate that the first device to gain certification through the CTIA’s Cybersecurity Certification Program is Harman Spark,” said Cameron Coursey, vice president, IoT Solutions at AT&T, in a press release. “This common and readily achievable security program will be critical to the future of safe and secure connected driving.”

It’s also appropriate that AT&T—which has a deep history in the connected car market and relationships with at least 29 automobile brands—is the first one offering the Harman Spark. The Harman Spark is a new aftermarket telematics device that turns just about any car 1996 and newer into a connected car. It plugs into a vehicle’s OBD-II port, enabling Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, vehicle tracking, diagnostics, emergency crash assistance and more.


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AT&T is offering the Spark on its website for a limited time for $39.99 with the purchase of a Telematics or Telematics plus Wi-Fi plan.

Given what’s at stake securitywise in the IoT market and connected cars in particular, it’s no surprise these entities want to ensure the highest level of cybersecurity.

CTIA said its IoT Cybersecurity Certification Program helps device suppliers, enterprises and government organizations ensure that cellular-connected devices have appropriate security capabilities. The certification process includes verifying the device security features against a set of standard cybersecurity best practices addressing the storage of consumers’ information, rigorous password and security management standards and the availability of an over-the-air mechanism for security software updates, according to CTIA.

“As we move toward an increasingly connected future, the CTIA IoT Cybersecurity Certification Program and its authorized labs will play a key role in protecting consumers and our wireless networks,” said Tom Sawanobori, senior vice president and chief technology officer at CTIA, in a statement.

“We are extremely proud that the device we co-developed with AT&T is the first device to ever be certified by the CTIA IoT Cybersecurity Program,” said Sanjay Dhawan, president, Connected Services and chief technology officer at Harman, which is owned by Samsung Electronics. “This exciting moment proves our continued dedication to creating breakthrough technology that is truly innovative and has a positive impact on all users.”

The Ericsson Device and Application Verification (EDAV) lab in Richardson, Texas, did the actual testing. Ericsson expects the number of cellular IoT connections to reach 4.1 billion in 2024.

RELATED: Samsung ups its status with 5GAA, gets seat on board

Harman became a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung in 2017. At CES 2019, the company demonstrated experiences enabled by C-V2X, a technology it supports as a member of the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA). The company recently wrote a letter to the FCC in support of a waiver request by 5GAA to allow the deployment of C-V2X technology in the upper 20 megahertz of the 5.9 GHz band.

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